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Border & Immigration

Tijuana Sees Rise In Violence Tied To Drug Consumption

Tijuana Sees Rise In Violence Tied To Drug Consumption
Tijuana has seen more than 540 homicides so far this year, more than all of last year and the highest number since 2010.

Tijuana is seeing its most violent year since 2010, with homicides through the first half of November surpassing last year’s total.

More than 540 homicides have occurred in Tijuana so far this year, compared with 493 all of last year, said Miguel Guerrero, head of investigations for the Tijuana prosecutor’s office.

The violence is tied to cartel in-fighting for control of the illegal drug market in Tijuana, Guerrero said. The Sinaloa and Arellano Félix cartels remain the main players in the city.

“We’re seeing a clash between tiny groups, sub-factions of different gangs, even rivalries within the Sinaloa cartel,” Guerrero said.

As the U.S. has increased border security, drug addiction in Tijuana has risen, especially to methamphetamine.

“It has become harder to cross drugs into the U.S., so that drug stays here in the border city of Tijuana,” Guerrero said.

Recent killings involve dealers at the bottom of the supply chain competing for drug consumers on certain street blocks and neighborhoods, he said.

“There is more addiction, and (the dealers) are fighting for those clients on the street,” said Genaro de la Torre, president of the Citizens Council for Public Security in Baja California. “They’re smaller groups, and it’s everyone against everyone.”

Violence has not reached the peak levels of 2010 and 2008, when homicides totaled 820 and 844, respectively. This is the first year homicides have totaled more than 500 since 2010.

Although some of the killings have occurred in public places, both Guerrero and De La Torre said tourists are not at risk.